Santa Barbara-based Sonos has unveiled Sonos Beam, a smart speaker for streaming content in rooms ‘people spend the most time in.’ The new hybrid sound bar, which supports more than 80 music services, multiple voice assistants and Apple AirPlay 2, is touted to be an ideal residential companion for movies, TV, music and podcasts. The unit will ship globally from July 17th, and will retail for $399. Pre-order is available now from www.sonos.com.
With consideration for an architecture that can support surround sound, the company suggests adding two Sonos Ones for a rear soundstage and a SUB for bass effects, while the Beam can also be integrated into existing Sonos multi-room setups. The emphasis here is clearly on ‘versatile’ with extensive control features available by voice, the Sonos app itself, third party apps like Spotify, Pandora or Tidal, TV remote, or smart home gadgets such as wall switches and remotes made by Sonos-certified partners.
Out of the box, Beam comes with Amazon Alexa in the US, UK, Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and soon, in France. Beam will support additional voice assistants as they become available on Sonos around the world and won’t lock owners into specific streaming boxes or services.
“In a smart speaker category increasingly filled with tech clutter, poor audio quality and ulterior motives, Beam is the best example yet of what makes Sonos different,” said Sonos CEO Patrick Spence. “Our open approach, obsession with design, maniacal focus on quality and commitment to building a system that’s easy to use and gets better over time are at the heart of everything we do. We believe we’ve created the best, most versatile, smart speaker in the world.”
According to the company, Sonos Beam was tuned by a team of ‘world-class’ acoustic engineers collaborating with sound experts from the worlds of film, music and television, and believes that the result delivers an ‘unparalleled’ listening experience. Beam will produce a wide soundstage for a speaker of its size, with four custom-built elliptical full-range woofers and three passive radiators delivering what Sonos claims will be ‘deep, warm bass and superior mid-range performance,’ while a single tweeter will ensure crisp and clear dialogue.
Sonos Beam Product Details (from Sonos)
- Low profile and compact size, Beam is designed to fit on credenzas or under wall mounted TVs, providing versatility. At only 25.6 inches long, Sonos Beam won’t hang off furniture, block the TV or overwhelm your space.
- Five linear far-field microphone array used for advanced noise suppression and multi-channel echo cancellation for both music and home theater content.
- Beam has three ports – power, Ethernet, and HDMI-ARC.
- Use the HDMI cable to connect Beam to the TV’s HDMI-ARC port. If your TV doesn’t support HDMI-ARC, use the included Optical Audio Adapter to connect Beam to the TV’s optical audio port.
- Comes in black and white fabric with matte finishes.
- Adding an Amazon video streaming device like Fire TV unlocks voice control for Alexa-enabled streaming services. Ask for a specific movie or show, get more info about a favorite movie director or control playback, all with voice.
AirPlay Comes to Sonos in July
AirPlay 2 will be available on Sonos in July via a free software update. With AirPlay 2, customers can play music and podcasts from their iOS devices directly on their Sonos speakers, including the new Sonos Beam, Sonos One, Playbase, and the second generation Play:5. And, with a single supported speaker, AirPlay content can be streamed to other Sonos speakers in the system. Customers enjoying AirPlay 2 on Sonos will also gain a new voice experience with the addition of Siri. Ask Siri to play any track, album, or playlist on Apple Music by using an iOS device to start playing on Sonos.